"We are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified" (Hebrews 10:10-14)
Anti-Catholics use this passage in an attempt to disprove the Mass/Divine Liturgy, since they think we believe that Jesus is "re-sacrificed" at every Eucharist.
This is a common misrepresentation of Catholic belief. We know that Jesus cannot die again (Romans 6:9), for He is alive forevermore (Apoc/Rev 1:10). The Mass is not a re-sacrifice, but Christ's one Sacrifice on Calvary made mysteriously present on the altar.
On the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), the high priest was commanded to do two things: slay the animal and bring its blood into the Holy of Holies to present it before God (Leviticus 16). Hebrews tells us that Christ the High Priest enters the Holy of Holies in heaven once and for all, eternally presenting Himself before the Father on our behalf. Scripture calls Jesus a "priest forever"; and a priest is one who offers sacrifice. So Christ died once and for all on the Cross, but presents His Body as a living Sacrifice before the Father eternally.
His once-for-all death on Calvary is mystically re-presented to us at Mass. It is not a new sacrifice, He does not die again. But His one death in 33 A.D. is made present, by the power of God, to us today in the Mass. It's not another sacrifice, it is the same Sacrifice present on the altar again and again. He is God, so He can do that!
Christ is our Passover Sacrifice (I Corinthians 5:7-8), and the Eucharist is our Passover meal, or Seder (Luke 22:15-20). To the Jews, the Seder is no mere memorial of a past event; they believe that everyone who participates in a Seder actually goes through the Exodus itself with the children of Israel! In other words, the Seder is a "re-presentation" of the original Exodus, making this past event present to Jews throughout the centuries.
When Jesus gave the Eucharist at His final Seder with the Apostles and told them to continue celebrating it, He did not intend it as a mere memorial of a past event, but as a means for all Christians to be present at Calvary! As the Seder is a re-presentation of the Exodus, so the Eucharist is a re-presentation of the Paschal Sacrifice of Christ, the Lamb of God.
The Mass/Divine Liturgy brings Christians of all times and places to the very foot of the Cross! It is not just a memorial, but also a communion in the Body and Blood of Christ (I Corinthians 10:16).
Interestingly, the author of Hebrews also writes that Christians eat from an altar: "We have an altar whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle (ie. the Israelite priests)" (Hebrews 13:10). An altar is a place where sacrifices are offered! If we Christians have an altar, we also must have a sacrifice to offer upon it; and one which is eaten, as the verse says.
This is none other than the holy Sacrifice of the Mass! Yes, the Eucharist is a Sacrifice; St. Paul speaks of the sacrificial nature of the Eucharist (see I Corinthians 10:14-21). Since we know there is only one Sacrifice for the Christian - Christ's Death on Calvary - the Eucharist must be that very same Sacrifice!
| Back: Forbidding Marriage and Meat? | Next: Nicolaitans=Catholic Clergy? | Is Catholicism Unbiblical? | Apologetics Index | Site Index | Home Page |